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Modernisation Plan Diesels




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#26 Zomboid

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 10:43

I understand why we didn't, but we really should have bought some EMDs and ALCos, for benchmarking what the local suppliers could come up with if nothing else.
Saying that, there's no reason to believe that some of the junk couldn't have come good if there was traffic for it to handle. Paxman managed to successfully power the HSTs after all. But once BR had decided to go with the EE type 1, the others just weren't worth the bother once the traffic dried up.
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#27 jonny777

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 10:59

Where did BR go wrong with the moderisation diesels?

 

Retaining steam heating and vacuum brakes.

Too many engine types.

Too many generator and traction motor types.

Too many manufacturers.

Too many mixed traffic types.

Allowing the regions decide what they wanted.

Poor prediction of traffic patterns, Dr B did his best to help but too late in the day.

Many locomotives over engineered and overweight.

Too few miles under the wires.

Too many locomotives ordered.

 

Where they went right.

 

DMUs.

 

 

I agree with this, but the problems began slightly further back than the pilot scheme diesels.

 

Steam heating and vacuum brakes were necessary because of the short sightedness of the Mk1 carriage building programme.

 

It seems that the designers were told that during the life of the carriages, that was all that was needed except on the SR. Was there no foresight into dual brakes and dual heating?

 

Once the stock was built, the new diesels would have to conform to steam era requirements.

 

I must slightly disagree with the idea that the class 20 was an unrivalled success. Yes it was obviously a very reliable and long serving loco and therefore can be deemed a success in one sense of the word; but that was only because another use was found for pairs of them which was not how they were designed to operate initially.

 

As The Stationmaster has said above, if the pilot scheme had been allowed to do what it was intended to do, most of the duds would have been weeded out. Even if electrification had stalled due to costs (again), a plan could have been drawn up to concentrate on diesels for passenger work in parallel with dmus for the more local services.

 

Modern steam locos could have carried on working goods and parcels services well into the 1970s, even if it meant concentrating steam in sheds well away from diesel depots. Some of the money saved from not constructing so many diesels for freight trains could have been paid as bonuses for those working in filthy surroundings keeping the steam locos in good working order until the 'ultimate' diesel freight loco had been designed, or the lines had finally been electrified.

 

But, sadly, the country became immersed in the "space age" hype and as usual with these crazes everything that was not up to date and ultra modern was seen as Victorian technology and ditched asap.

 

But I am already O/T as the thread question relates only to type 1 locos.

 

My answer is yes, they were a heap of junk (class 20s excepted with my proviso above) . However, that is mainly because the classification system was focussed on too many low powered locos which were hardly any more capable than the most modern of the steamers they replaced, just cleaner and more flexible.


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#28 lapford34102

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 11:26


Mike has summed things up very succinctly in post #6 but Jim makes an interesting comment

It would be interesting to see what would have been the outcome if engineering logic had outweighed political, commercial and social influences.


The Type 1's (and others) could be seen as victims of regional prejudices and muddled thinking by those in overall control. Had the rush to dieselization been less manic, steam could have survived to the mid 70's, and with more central control things getting the Pilot classes sorted out might well have been different.

 

Stu


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#29 The Stationmaster

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 11:32

I was being somewhat provocative with my post! Mike the stationmaster has the right answer for sure....

What were the most common problems with them Mike?

Phil

I think the engines were relatively reliable but the big failing (and the most failures I heard about/were told about) seem to have been down to transmission problems and transmissions overheating.  Possibly the fact that they were, in some places, used on jobs they weren't designed for might have contributed but even my Drivers in the Cardiff Valleys had a fairly low opinion of them and there they were definitely doing the right kind of work.  But they seem to have made good industrial shunters so perhaps their shortcoming was that they weren't suited to longer distance work and that might be what 'found out' the transmission.

 

I think there is a lot of hindsight emerging in this thread about the Modernisation Plan designs.  Don't forget there was a Pilot Scheme to order various types and combinations of components for extensive in-service testing before progressing to mass orders.  But in an effort to reduce costs policy changed fairly quickly to one of mass dieselisation in order to chop down operating costs and so it was either order what existed or order off the drawing board.  As that progressed so did design and technology which in some respects quickly made some of the earlier designs obsolescent although still capable of work - good examples of this were the EE Type 4 (later Class 40) and the Class 44/45/46 succession which in some respects begat the Brush Type 4 (Class 47).  

 

At the same time a race for horsepower developed as it was realised that 2,000 engine hp was not really adequate to accelerate services BUT it should not be overlooked that a lot of mainline infrastructure was also far from adequate to allow major accelerations as faster passenger trains outran the braking distances of signals (and capacity of block sections) and track crumbled beneath them.  It was only improved or renewed signalling and cwr track which really allowed the major train accelerations of the very late 1960s and 1970s  (and earlier designs of locos running in multiple could also, albeit expensively, deliver the necessary poke to take advantage of it)

 

 

Behind it all there was a succession of political influences - both BR internal and exterior.  I have often referred to the Pilot Scheme and early mass orders as a huge job creation scheme (in reality job protection of course.  Otherwise who on earth would order a diesel loco from North British - who had very quickly in the Pilot Scheme period proved they couldn't design & build a reliable one, whatever the transmission.  Why otherwise repeat order designs which already had problems and even with re-design couldn't solve those difficulties - the Derby Sulzer Type 2 (later Classes 24 & 25 where the history of the sub-classes showed up the trail of trying to get it right) should never have been multiplied especially when the BRC&W designs were proving far better, easier to maintain, and not leaving such a long trail of modifications (latterly Classes 26 & 27 and also the Class 33).

 

Then we have the mixed story of the second generation - the dash for horsepower - with again a number of prototypes tested, some very successfully, and something completely different ordered.  The Brush Type 4 (later Class 47) was an unmitigated disaster with numerous failures due to just about any part of it you cared to name except the main generator; the bogie design was poor and the locos had a tendency to roll, the automatic slack adjusters on the brakes were barmy and caused more bogie fires and shifted tyres than on any other Type 4 design ever, the Sulzer engines (mainly Barrow built) had numerous problems which led to de-rating, and traction motor failures and fires were not unknown.  DP2 was subjected to 'BR design requirements' for mass(ish) production particularly in order to remove the nose (the only really good thing) and was grossly over-complicated in the process which resulted in abysmal reliability.  Meanwhile basically good designs such as 'Lion' were left on one side (but it did have the Sulzer engine of course) in what many subsequently saw as a political move to save Brush.

 

Through all of it EE produced machines which were at least reliable and did what was required of them (until the Class 50) but no doubt BRB and derby politics were played out there.  The EE Type 1 (Class 20) was perceived to have safety shortcomings (which were to some extent revealed as a consequence of experience) hence Derby decided BR needed a Type 1 with much better visibility from the driving position and produced what should have been produced in the first place - a centre cab design with good visibility - and ordered them off the drawing board to produce yet another unmitigated disaster and one which was only resolved by ordering more of the disliked EE design.

 

Easy to look back from where we are now and see what was not done in a way which we see as 'correct'.  Very different to consider any or all of it in the time and circumstances in which it happened.  Why not have airbrakes?  Massive conversion programme, huge cost, and - in the circumstances of the time - little or no justification to change from vacuum  or to convert a massive fleet of coaches.  Bad decision?  I'm not sure but in the circumstances of the time it was carefully considered and a changeover was rejected for (then) good reasons.

 

Why not modernise other things as well as motive power?  Well a lot happened to modernise the way freight traffic (or some of it in some places) was worked and it reduced costs significantly.  Resignalling made some progress but couldn't really get underway until the 1960s when advances in remote control technology significantly reduced costs but even then schemes had to stand on their own two feet financially and many didn't.


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#30 The Bigbee Line

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 11:55

No one has mentioned, but there would have been a degree of 'palm greasing' I'm sure....

 

However was has gone before cannot be unwound, just learn the lessons.

 

From a modelers point of view I have a class 16 that will appear on 'cross london' freights.  Despite the fact that the real things were pretty dire, I think it looks nice and makes a change from more usual types, likewise if a reasonable priced class 15 appears I'll probably get one. 


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#31 Peter Kazmierczak

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 12:14

Something had to be done. But were the right things done?

 

Net operating revenue (£m):

 

1954 = 16.4

1955 = 1.8

1956 = -16.5

1957 = -27.1

1958 = -48.1

1959 = -42.0

1960 = -67.7

1961 = -86.9

1962 = -104.0


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#32 jessy1692

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 12:34

Im sure i read somewhere, maybe on here that Clayton designed to class 17s for Rolls Royce engines but BR had already ordered Paxman engines for an abortive DMU build, I think things could have been different if this is true for the 17's.
Good topic is this

#33 Talltim

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 12:39

No one has mentioned, but there would have been a degree of 'palm greasing' I'm sure....

 

However was has gone before cannot be unwound, just learn the lessons.

 

From a modelers point of view I have a class 16 that will appear on 'cross london' freights.  Despite the fact that the real things were pretty dire, I think it looks nice and makes a change from more usual types, likewise if a reasonable priced class 15 appears I'll probably get one. 

You could get a 15 (when available) to rescue the 16. More operational interest. ;)

 

Although mass dieselisation had started in the US before it was considered here, there were still plenty of dud designs in the same period as the BR Pilot/modernisation scheme. EMD (and to lesser extent ALCo) seem to have got the right basic idea straight away, which shows in that their subsequent designs were progressive improvements rather than radical rethinks, Even the change from the carbody design to the hood design kept the same mechanical and electric designs. However many of the unsuccessful designs were bought in fairly large numbers.

 

To my mind, retaining steam heating was a far bigger mistake than retaining vacuum brakes (over air brakes). Steam heating added a lot of weight and complexity.

I can understand the push to move to fully fitted trains using the established braking technology (although it took far too long, contrast with the US where the 1893 version of the Railroad Safety Appliance Act mandated that enough of a train's vehicles' brakes should be controllable by the engineer (driver) to not require any use of handbrakes)


Edited by Talltim, 12 January 2016 - 13:01 .

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#34 lmsforever

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 13:18

The fact that the class 20 is still running shows it to have been basically a good design,also the class 31 still finding work today but the rest were an unmitigated disaster the Clayton especialy I have been in the cab o the preserved example at Chinnor .You could hold a dance in the cab why waste so much space and also the engines are apparently a ###### to look after ,I agree that to many locos were built when perhaps only three category of loco would have sufficed ,witness the class 15 poor build, poor  running typical of a loco designed by committee.



#35 Peter Kazmierczak

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 13:33

Steam was probably a dead-end from the late 1920s, diesels really a non-starter due to high costs of (and dependence on) imported oil.

 

Electrification was the only real way forward.

 

Trouble is, war got in the way. And shareholders.....


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#36 russ p

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 13:40

The large cab on the Clayton was allegedly for a train heat boiler.
Funny you mention dancing ,a lot of the old Thornaby drivers would say " I learned to dance in cab of those" whenever they were mentioned
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#37 Fenman

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 13:41

... the Clayton especialy I have been in the cab o the preserved example at Chinnor .You could hold a dance in the cab why waste so much space and also the engines are apparently a ###### to look after ...


I think the original plan was to put a boiler in there, to enable train heating. None was ever fitted so they were only used on passenger trains in summer.

The Claytons were really two classes: I thought the later (Beyer Peacock) examples were meant to be pretty decent, but by then the class reputation was at rock bottom.

The fact that one managed to live a long and what appears to be a productive life in industrial use suggests they may not have been quite as dreadful as is commonly supposed. Didn't the Castle Cement engineers discover that a relatively trivial modification to the fuel feed made them vastly more reliable?

Paul
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#38 Fenman

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 13:42

The large cab on the Clayton was allegedly for a train heat boiler. ...


Oops: we overlapped.

Paul

#39 Peter Kazmierczak

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 13:54

Oops: we overlapped.

Paul

 

But not in the cab of a Clayton.....


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#40 locoholic

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 14:16

...The Brush Type 4 (later Class 47) was an unmitigated disaster with numerous failures due to just about any part of it you cared to name except the main generator; the bogie design was poor and the locos had a tendency to roll, the automatic slack adjusters on the brakes were barmy and caused more bogie fires and shifted tyres than on any other Type 4 design ever, the Sulzer engines (mainly Barrow built) had numerous problems which led to de-rating, and traction motor failures and fires were not unknown...

 

That's an opinion that's not often seen expressed, although I agree 100%. By the time the Brush Type 4 was selected as the standard general purpose design, the BR Board had the "benefit" of their experience with the Pilot Scheme diesels, but apparently had learned nothing.

 

Despite reading most of the books on the subject, I have never understood what was going on around that time. Why did the privately-built prototypes, Lion, Falcon and DP2, emerge only very shortly before the first Class 47? I had always assumed that those prototypes were a sort of mini-Pilot Scheme, but obviously the decision to go with the Brush loco/Sulzer engine combo must have been taken before any of the prototypes had turned a wheel. That being the case, why was the future of Brush deemed to be worth safeguarding, even though they were to use a Swiss power-unit, whilst English Electric, wholly UK, & with an excellent export record, had to make do with the consolation prize of 50 Class 50s, which they had to lease to BR?


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#41 jjb1970

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 14:35

The early diesels were not BR’s finest hour. I think initially a very sensible policy of trialling pilot designs were applied to assess the suitability of various types but this seemed to be abandoned and series orders placed before completing the pilot evaluation process. Which kind of negated the whole point of the process really. The longevity and soundness of the Class 20 indicates that industry was fully able to design and manufacture a perfectly good diesel electric locomotive in the early dieselisation phase, it was not a case that BR was racing ahead of technology and taking a leap into the unknown. The diesel engine was hardly a new concept and the diesel electric locomotive was an established, mature technology by the 1950’s in markets such as the USA. I’m not sure the excursion into diesel hydraulics was sensible, quite aside from the obvious post facto evidence of the BR decision to standardise on diesel electric transmission I think even in contemporary terms the wisdom of allowing one region to pursue a completely different technology path was questionable. This is all technical stuff, but as others have noted it was not just a technical story but one of a radically changed operational land scape.
My main complaint at the dieselisation process (other than the fact so much tat was bought and later scrapped whilst still very young) was that what should have been an intermediate phase of modernisation from steam to electric became a long term solution for most of the country. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I honestly don’t think it needed hindsight to manage a major acquisition program to ensure the equipment bought was of a reasonable standard (that is a normal part of procurement and engineering) but I do think hindsight tells us that the traffic forecasts under pinning the modernisation scheme were erroneous and that more emphasis should have been given to electrification.
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#42 Andy W

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 14:57

Although mass dieselisation had started in the US before it was considered here, there were still plenty of dud designs in the same period as the BR Pilot/modernisation scheme. EMD (and to lesser extent ALCo) seem to have got the right basic idea straight away, which shows in that their subsequent designs were progressive improvements rather than radical rethinks, Even the change from the carbody design to the hood design kept the same mechanical and electric designs. However many of the unsuccessful designs were bought in fairly large numbers.

 

Baldwin is really the US equivalent of North British, except that their switchers, up to 1000hp, were at least adequate. But the USA's premier steam locomotive builder produced a series of dud diesel road locomotives, and declined into oblivion.

Then there's Fairbanks-Morse applying opposed-piston submarine engines to locomotives with very indifferent results. Cooling wasn't so much of a problem when there was lots of cold seawater, but on a locomotive gave them real issues. The 2400hp version sold to Southern Pacific for service in the desert areas on the California/New Mexico/Texas borders really struggled and had to be moved to the much cooler San Francisco Bay routes.

The US railroads had pretty much settled on EMD and Alco as diesel suppliers by 1955. It's not surprising BR didn't order US-built locos - which would have been politically unacceptable, though maybe the Canadian-built versions might have fared better. It is surprising they didn't learn lessons from the US experience though.

Then there's the Irish experience. The Metrovick/Crossley locos supplied from 1955 onwards to CIE were a failure from the start, and it is impossible that loco engineers in the UK wouldn't know all about this. So why BR then ordered any locos with this combination can only be put down to perversity, corruption, or political pressure.

 

There's been a suggestion elsewhere that J.F. (Freddie) Harrison, who was BR CME from 1958-1966, was opposed to English Electric as a supplier, and was responsible for the selection of what became the 47 for quantity production. A different CME would probably have ordered more EE locos and placed fewer repeat orders for less reliable Modernisation Plan designs.


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#43 lmsforever

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 15:53

Also the cabs on a 47 were badly constructed ask any driver who drove one in the winter!



#44 DavidLong

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 16:20

Classes still in demand. Class 20, Class 31, Class 37 and Class 73. Seems to be a common thread here, could it be English Electric? DRS seem intent of divesting themselves of their remaining Class 47s and didn't Ed Burkhardt have some fairly trenchant views about them.
Meantime the 'loco de jour' is Class 37 with every possible source being raided at present for available examples.

David

#45 Talltim

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 16:25

Although DRS are selling a couple of their 37s.
Of course there is a reason the smaller old locos are still in more demand than the larger old ones, there have been new builds of powerful freight and mixed traffic locos, 66/67/68/70.
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#46 Nearholmer

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 16:39

Some fascinating thoughts coming out here.

To pick up on two:

Stationmaster - you raise the "why no low hood, centre-cab type1?" question. That is how this debate started, threatening to kill-off an innocent discussion about a new layout plan, in another thread. The answer is that viably-rated Diesel engines were simply too tall to allow bonnets lower than cabs, within the British loading gauge, when 10800 and then the Type 1s were conceived. As an instance, if you google "Alco MRS1", you will see what the US produced when they designed for our loading gauge.

Peter K - have you got the rest of the figures, so that we can see whether the net losses were driven by falling revenues or by increasing costs?

Export - I believe that a factor in the weirdnesses of the 50s and 60s may have been the idea that the BR dieselisation would act as the platform for an export drive, which may explain some of the prototypes. Not that it went very well!

And, another question, if I may:

Among the things that went into the melee in 1948, were the motive power plans of the Big Four. It is pretty well known what the SR had in mind, where the LMS was looking medium-term, and what options the GWR was exploring. But, what about the LNER?

Several Diesels were tried on their metals pre-WW2, but is it known what they imagined would be hauling coal trains, or ECML expresses, by, say, 1960?

Kevin

#47 russ p

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 16:42

I've read recently but can't recall where of a proposed Alco engined loco by brush? Obviously nothing became of it but would have been interesting

Edited by russ p, 12 January 2016 - 16:46 .


#48 cheesysmith

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 17:03

There was plans laid just before the war, and we're included in the weir report on main line electrification that the ECML would be electrified at 1500volts dc from London to York, including the Leeds line and the cleethorpes/mablethorpe loop and the line to march. The LNER did look at diesels on paper, but concluded that a pair of EE diesels like what the LMS had would be required to match the performance of the pacific loco's they already had.

#49 Norton961

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 17:28

Regarding the Class 17 built by Clayton, Claytons original proposal to BR had the engines supplied by Rolls Royce but someone at BR insisted that they used unproven Paxman engine. Result a chronic failure rate, many of the locos experienced problems before leaving Claytons works and major engine problems persisted when entering traffic. Claytons finally persuaded BR to allow them to build 2 locos with Rolls Royce V8 engines and these were fine, but by that point BR had given up on the design and ordered EE type 2s. It would have been better to re engine the locos but they were scrapped, despite the crews Loki g the cab arrangements.
The Clayton management were very upset with the high handed approach of BR and the impact on the image of Claytons. Engines similar to the class 17 built by Claytons worked perfectly well in New Zealand, but with Rolls Royce engines.
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#50 Nearholmer

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 17:59

Thanks Cheesy - I sort of guessed it would be 1500V DC, based on Woodhead and the GE, but had never seen it in print. Kevin